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"First phase of Appiatse Reconstruction project is about 40% complete" - Lands Minister

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor has revealed that the first phase of the reconstruction of the Appiatse project is about forty percent (40%) complete. 


According to him, the phase includes the construction of one hundred and twenty-four (124) housing units made up of two to seven bedroom houses, a school block with sanitary facilities, and the construction of roads within the community.


Addressing Journalists in Accra on Tuesday, the Lands Minister said "Following the tragic Appiatse incident on 20th January, 2022, Government committed to reconstruct the community into a modern, green and sustainable community as a model for rural development. Construction began last year, and the first phase of the project is about forty percent (40%) complete"


"This phase includes the construction of one hundred and twenty-four (124) housing units made up of two to seven bedroom houses, a school block with sanitary facilities, and the construction of roads within the community"


He added that one hundred and six (106) of the housing units and a six-unit classroom block are at different stages of completion, with some being roofed.


The Minister stressed that measures are being put in place to move the victims of the incident from their temporary accommodation back to their community before the end of the year.


"The recommendations of the Health and Safety Committee established after the incident, chaired by the Vice Chancellor of George Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology (UMat), Prof. Richard Amankwaah, are also being implemented, and has led to a lot of reforms in the sector."


He noted that a comprehensive review of the regulations on explosives, the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177) has also been completed, and will soon be laid before Parliament.


Forest protection and enhancement

The Minister said "Our timber and timber products export increased significantly from three hundred and two thousand one hundred and eighty three point zero four six cubic metres (302,183.046m³) in 2021, to three hundred and forty-three thousand four hundred and forty point zero eight one cubic metres (343,440.081m³) in 2022, representing an increase of thirteen point six five percent (13.65%)"


He also noted that this generated a total amount of One Hundred and Fifty Three Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven Euros and Sixty-Seven Cents (€153,861,837.67).


"To protect our forest resources, reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration activities in forest reserves continue to be suspended, except in exceptional circumstances and the harvesting, salvaging, trading, exporting, and importing of Rosewood, as well as the issuance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permits for the export of Rosewood continue to be banned"

 

Mr. Jinapor hinted that the Forestry Commission, with the support the Ghana Armed Forces, have cordoned off all Forest Reserves and Wildlife Protected Areas, to rid them of illegal mining and illegal logging.


Highlighting on arrests, the Minister told Journalists that last year, two hundred and twelve (212) suspects were arrested by the Rapid Response Team of the Forestry Commission for various forest and wildlife offences.


He added that the suspects are standing trial at various courts across the country.


"The Team, also, seized and/or decommissioned scores of equipment and forest products, including forty-four thousand five hundred and twenty-two (44,522) assorted lumber, fifty-four (54) vehicles and seventeen (17) excavators"


"While protecting the forest, we continued with our aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme, including our flagship Green Ghana Project."


"Last year, on the Green Ghana Day, a total of twenty-six million, five hundred and sixty-three thousand, six hundred seven (26,563,607) seedlings were distributed, out of which twenty-four million, five hundred and fifty-two thousand, nine hundred and twenty-five (24,552,925) seedlings were verified to have been planted"


"This year, the President has decided that we lower the target to ten million (10,000,000) trees. This is to enable us devote much attention to nurturing the over thirty million trees already planted to ensure that all they reach maturity"


"In addition to the Green Ghana Project, we are, in partnership with the Departments of Parks and Gardens, and Urban Roads, implementing a Green Street Project, under which we are planting trees in the medians of streets and avenues of major roads in our cities to beautify the cities while contributing to the fight against climate change"


Explaining further, he mentioned that the project is currently being implemented in Accra from the Tetteh Quashie interchange, through Shiashie and Okponglo, to Legon PRESEC.


He said "It will be scaled up to cover all major roads in Accra and all sixteen (16) regional capitals of our country.

Under the Forest Plantation Strategy, over ten million (10,000,000) seedlings were produced last year, and a total of sixty-six thousand three hundred and fifty-five point four two hectares (66,355.42) of forest was planted"


He revealed that the Forest Plantation Development Fund, through the Youth in Plantation Establishment as an Occupation Programme, has sponsored seventy-five (75) unemployed graduates to go into forest plantation.


"Over three hundred and seventy-five hectares (375 ha) of land in Forest Reserves have been cultivated in the Ashanti, Bono and Bono East Regions under this Programme, with an additional thirty-two hectares (32 ha) cultivated in off-reserves in the Volta and Oti Regions"


Wildlife Protection and Ecotourism

"You will recall that last year, I reported that the Forestry Commission has launched an Ecotourism Handbook to promote ecotourism in our country"


"This has contributed significantly to increasing the number visitors to our ecotourism sites and zoological gardens. Despite the Accra Zoo being closed for more than three months, visits to the various ecotourism sites increased by fifty-nine percent (59%), to three hundred and sixty-one thousand, five hundred and five (361,505)"


Mr. Jinapor explained that the new Wildlife Management Bill, which was approved by Cabinet last year, has been laid before Parliament, and is expected to be passed before the end of this sitting of Parliament to enhance the protection and management of our wildlife resources.

 

Climate Change Initiatives

"As a respected member of the international community, we continued the implementation of our various initiatives aimed at halting climate change, including the Ghana REDD+ Strategy"

 

"I am happy to report that under the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, the first module of the REDD+ Strategy which was launched by President Akufo-Addo in 2019, we recorded emission reduction of nine hundred and seventy-two thousand four hundred and sixty-five tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (972,465 tCO2e) for the first accounting period between June and December 2019, which has been verified and validated."


"This has generated results-based payment of Four Million Eight Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty United States Dollars (US$4,862,280), which we have begun receiving. This makes Ghana the second country in Africa, and the third in the world, to receive result-based payments from the Carbon Fund"


 Forest Investment Programme

He noted that the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) is a mix grant and loan from the World Bank, aimed at, among others, protecting and increasing our forests estate, and piloting the viability of contracting commercial loans for plantation development.


"I am happy to announce that Parliament has ratified the On-lending agreement for the disbursement of Seven Million US Dollars (USD7,000,000.00) to support small to medium scale plantation development and stimulate private sector investment in commercial forest plantation"


The Lands and Natural Resources Minister told Journalists that some Eighty-Five Thousand hectares (85,000 ha) of forest will be planted under this programme, through private participation in forest plantation.

 

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith

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